The Chronicles of Lumatere

Reading

Melina Marchetta is a goddess. She is one of my favorite authors in the ENTIRE world and one of the greatest in the YA genre. Even though I like to keep the recommendations on this blog to a minimum, mostly because it’s very rare for me to gush this hardcore, for all of my fellow authors and all of my fellow readers I just had to tell everyone about this series. The Chronicles of Lumatere is a fantasy series but like all of Marchetta’s novels, it’s a story about identity and finding your place in the world. So many people have fallen for Marchetta’s contemporary pieces but I still don’t think she’s ever received the recognition she truly deserves. Every single one of her books is so poignant and breathtakingly real and every time I finish reading one I learn so much, not only about the human spirit, but about myself. Jellicoe Road changed my life and Saving Francesca saved it. Growing up reading her novels served as a foundation for me, not only as a writer, but as a person and when I spotted my own flaws in her characters it helped me learn to accept them and more importantly love them. She is the pinnacle for me of everything I want to be and do and say as a writer and I think if every person on the planet read her books the world would be a more beautiful place.

I’d dabbled in reading the fantasy genre before but had never found anything that really grabbed me. I’ve always loved reading series and loved the idea of some epic journey of self-discovery but Marchetta’s mastery of contemporary fiction, combined with her foray into this new genre really put her in a league of her own. Because she’s fearless. She takes the most unworthy characters and turns them into heroes and she builds relationships where they don’t belong between people who seem too broken to be capable of such a thing. The Chronicles of Lumatere is pure magic and I guarantee that if you have a soul it will speak to it.

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.

FOTRFOTEQOC

 

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Most Challenged Books: 2012

Reading, Writing

The ALA recently released the results of their study on the most challenged books of 2012 and I think it’s safe to conclude that there are a lot of Americans out there who need to get a life. I think about the energy it takes to not only submit a challenge form but also to harbor enough disgust for something to actually be spurred to action.

They’re books people, not land mines. I just don’t get it. You can’t censor art. You just can’t. And trying to is not only a detriment to the individual, it’s a detriment to the global community. Censorship kills culture. And while it is most certainly every person’s right to censor their own reading and that of their children, it is most certainly not that person’s right to try and ruin it for the rest of us.

For this very reason I have no idea why libraries would even provide patrons with the option of requesting that books be banned. If something offends you, you don’t have to read it. But why go through the trouble of trying to keep others from reading it as well? It’s pretentious. It’s disgusting. And it hinders one of the most revelatory side effects of reading—asking questions.

Is that what people are afraid of? That if we read something thought-provoking enough that we’ll start to ask questions. Questions that lead to other questions. Questions that lead to answers. Answers that lead to change. Change. So that’s what all you self-righteous readers are quaking in your boots about.

Fine. You’re right. Change is scary. But guess what? It’s also necessary. So the next time you come across something offensive close the book, set it aside, and realize that just because you weren’t ready to face the questions being asked in those pages splayed across your lap, doesn’t mean someone else won’t read those same pages and yearn for the very answers you didn’t think worth finding.

And if you’re feeling particularly brave, here’s the official list of the top ten most challenged books of 2012:

1.       Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group

2.       The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group

3.       Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group

4.       Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit

5.       And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group

6.       The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

7.       Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group

8.       Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence

9.       The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit

10.    Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence